James Cain, PhD, MSEd, RD, CSCS

James CainAssistant Professor of Biology

Office Location: Stephens Hall 214
Phone Number: 630-844-7585
Email Address: jcain@aurora.edu

My teaching philosophy centers on a learner-centered and learning-centered instructional approach, and focuses on having the students actively engage with content whenever possible. I see my role as a guide to help students define their own strategies for learning while cultivating a productive partnership with those I teach as we explore knowledge. I strive to communicate knowledge, but primarily to lead by example through sharing my genuine interest in the material and the learning process to instill a desire to learn. I believe that stimulating curiosity in the classroom motivates students to learn more on their own.

PhD, Human Nutrition and Dietetics - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
MSEd, Kinesiology and Food & Nutrition (double major) - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
BS, Kinesiology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
National Strength and Conditioning Association—Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
National Strength and Conditioning Association—Certified Personal Trainer
U.S.A. Weightlifting—Sports Performance Coach
American Red Cross— Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED

Areas of Specialization
Anatomy and physiology
Biology of aging
Exercise physiology
Nutrition and metabolism

Courses Taught
Anatomy and Physiology I and II
Nutrition and Health Promotion
Sports Nutrition
Senior Capstone in Health Sciences
Science and Society

Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions


Cain J, Banz WJ, Peterson RG, Davis JE (in preparation). Early consumption of high fat diet reduces hepatic steatosis in obese and diabetic rats.

Davis JE, Cain J, Small C, Hales DB (Jan 2016). Therapeutic effect of flax-based diets on fatty liver in aged laying hens. Functional Foods.

Davis JE, Cain J, Banz WJ, Peterson RG (Apr 2013). Age-related differences in response to high-fat feeding on adipose tissue and metabolic profile in ZDSD rats. ISRN Obesity.

Cain J, Banz WJ, Butteiger D, & Davis J (Oct 2011). Soy protein isolate modified metabolic phenotype and hepatic Wnt signaling in obese Zucker rats. Horm Metab Res, 43(11): 774-781.

Peer-reviewed abstracts and posters:

Davis JE, Cain J, Small C, Hales DB (Apr 2016). Supplementation of whole flaxseed reduced hepatic steatosis in aged laying hens. FASEB J.

Cain J, Hales D, Small C, Banz W, Davis J. (Apr 2014). Effect of plant-based polyunsaturated fatty acids on characteristics of fatty liver disease in laying hens. FASEB J, 28(829.27).

Cain J, Banz WJ, Strader A, Butteiger D, & Davis J (Apr 2010). The effect of soy diets on obesity-related pathologies in lean and obese Zucker rats. FASEB J, 24(540.1).

Cain J, Davis J, Strader A, & Banz WJ (Apr 2010). Soy protein improves liver function and obesity-related pathologies. 2010 Illinois Soybean Research Forum.

Professional Presentations:

Bert A, Cain J. (Jul 2017). Presented at the monthly Diabetes Support Group at Heartland Regional Medical Center, Marion, IL.

Cain J (May 2016). Circadian rhythms, nutrition and metabolism—implications for health and lifespan. Presented at the Ninth Conference of the Calorie Restriction Society International.

Cain J¸ McElhoney K. (Feb 2016). Video-Based Lecture Alternatives and Student-Driven Projects in Undergraduate STEM Courses. Presented at the 2016 Faculty Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora University.

Cain J (Aug 2015). Current trends in obesity and fatty acid research. Presented at the AUSO Research Series, Aurora University.

Cain J, McElhoney K, Repavitch S. (Feb 2015). Biology and Health Sciences student perceptions regarding the significance of prerequisite course material. Presented at the 2015 Faculty Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora University.

Cain J (Feb 2010). The role of genetics in health and fitness. Presented at Midwest FitFest 2010.

Cain J (Feb 2009). The effects of dietary fat on exercise performance, body composition, and health. Presented at the 11th Annual Midwest FitFest.

Cain J and Lott R. (Feb 2009). High-intensity exercise methods for fat loss and performance enhancement. Presented at the 11th Annual Midwest FitFest.

Cain J (Sept 2008). Strength and balance: Considerations for women. Presented at the 22nd Annual Southern Illinois Women’s Health Conference.

Highlights of Campus Involvement
Sports nutrition consultant for AU Athletics, 2017-present
Student Life Committee, 2017-present
Faculty Senate, 2016-present
AU Science Organization faculty advisor, 2015-present
Course Coordinator for Anatomy and Physiology, 2015-present
President Sherrick’s “Kitchen Cabinet” committee, 2016
STEM After School Program for Aurora middle schools, 2014-2016
Mentoring/supervising independent undergraduate research projects in biology and nutrition

Other Involvement
Illinois State Academy of Sciences (ISAS), Chair of the Health Sciences Division, 2017-present